Monday, February 5, 2024

How the West Failed Ukraine and a Potential Solution to the Conflict

At the 2024 edition of the cluster*ck in Davos, former Czech President Václav Klaus had the opportunity to take centre stage and offer his views on the world, in particularly the Russian-Ukraine conflict.  In this posting, I'll look at some of his more interesting comments which fly directly in the face of what the Western media has been touting for the past two years.


He opens by noting that he was invited to say a few words on the "very risky topic of the Russia-Ukraine war from the perspective of a former Central European politician." and admits that he is not an expert on Ukraine but does have expertise on the transition from communism to parliamentary democracy and a market economy since he spent most of his life in a Communist nation under Soviet domination, two aspects of Ukraine which have not been successfully implemented and remain incomplete.


Here are some quotes with my bolds throughout:


"As compared to other ex-communist countries, Ukraine before the war couldn’t have been described as a Western-type democracy, a country with full-fledged market economy or a consolidated country as regards its territory and the composition of its inhabitants. To pretend that this was not the case and to discuss the current war on Ukrainian territory as if it were taking place in a vacuum is neither helpful nor productive."


If we want to see how unconsolidated Ukraine was prior to the war, here is a map showing the languages spoken in Ukraine:


Note that the eastern side of Ukraine including Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk which border Russia is primarily inhabited by Russian speakers.


Here, for context, is a map showing the current parts of Ukraine that are controlled by Russia:



While most media outlets pay very little attention to Russia's military penetration into Ukraine, in fact, it is clear that Russia has no intention of taking over regions of the nation that are not in its "sphere", remaining more-or-less stable in the area where Russian culture is pervasive.


With that background, let's go back to Václav Klaus' speech to the global ruling class at the World Economic Forum:


"With that in mind, let me make a few comments about this war:


1. The entire Ukraine war could and should have been avoided. We have to admit that we – the rest of the world – have failed. It becomes increasingly obvious that after this tragic historic event there will only be losers. There will be no winners. The war has changed the world and the fate of all of us.


2. The geopolitical debate about it, especially in Europe and in the US (and in my own country, in the Czech Republic, as well) is more superficial than it deserves to be. It has been avoiding important and relevant pieces of knowledge about Ukraine, the whole region and the overall geopolitical context. Especially the fact of the end of the monopolar world of the last decades.


3. We shouldn’t forget its historic context. This war started on 4 April 2008. On that day, at the NATO summit in Bucharest, the decision was made to admit Ukraine and Georgia to NATO. I was present at that event, I was sitting there and I knew already there that what happened was a tragic mistake. I tried to argue against it there. This decision was pushed through by the US and the UK (George Bush and Gordon Brown) against the stances of the majority of the participating member countries and in opposition to the positions of Germany and France. I must admit that I felt very depressed there. Many of the attending Presidents and Prime Ministers were irresponsibly silent during the very long evening. It is also well-known that the US ambassador in Moscow, W. Burns, warned the US government at the time that this meant crossing all the so-called “red lines” for Russia.[*]


4. All the evidence suggests that on February 24, 2022, the Russians did not intend to occupy Ukraine, but to change the regime in Kiev and to stop the prospect of Ukraine’s NATO membership. That is why they entered Ukraine with only very small military forces. It was and is evident that they were not going to risk an attempt to take over the whole Ukraine. The Russians knew perfectly well the results of the important presidential elections in 2010, a pro-Western candidate winning in the west, north and centre of Ukraine and a pro-Russian candidate in the east and south. It was a big mistake not to pay attention to this fundamental split of the country.


5. There has been already since 2014 (not February 2022) a civil war in eastern Ukraine with all its terrible casualties and human tragedies.


6. After almost two years of war, it appears that all sides in the conflict have miscalculated. Not only Russia and Ukraine, but also the US and the whole of Europe.


7. Looking at the military situation, the 1,200-kilometre front, leaving aside small shifts, is more or less frozen now. The end of the war is not in sight. It is “in the stars” as we say.


Klaus' analysis suggests that the basic cause of the conflict stems from a series of errors made by the United States, the United Kingdom and NATO which eventually led to this two year-old war which has cost the lives of at least 10,000 civilians and hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides.


Here are his recommendations:


"My modest advice is to start negotiating. Not only between Russia and Ukraine."


Wise words that the West would be prudent to follow but I'm guessing that particular advice is not what the global elite wanted to hear since at least some of them (Big Defense in specific) benefit from never-ending war.

No comments:

Post a Comment